Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Is the Kingdom of God truly among us?

"The Kingdom of God is among you.”  (Luke 17: 21).

What did you hear and see when you accompanied Jesus, Peter, James and John to the Mountain of Transfiguration?  I saw the Apostles sleeping and suddenly a booming voice rang out and everybody was suddenly alert.  The voice of the Father said:  "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him." (Matthew 17: 5).
Jesus looking at me said: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  (Matthew 6: 33).

"Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come..."  (Luke 17: 20).
The Kingdom of God is already here and now but will be ushered in its fullest splendor in the Second Coming of Jesus.
I objected that what is proclaimed as the Kingdom and as already among us and what I see with my 2 eyes does not look like a Kingdom at all.   An Angel whispered to me: "You do not apprehend the Kingdom by sight or by feeling but by Faith."  I thought for a minute and exclaimed:  "I now understand!"  I am absolutely sure the Holy Spirit is in me. I do not see Him and sometimes do not even experience His activities in me.  I know that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist but I am sometimes distracted after receiving Him.  So not by sight or feeling but by faith. Thank You Jesus.

"The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia."  (Psalm 146: 10).
"But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation."  (Luke 17:  25).
Lord help us to walk by faith and not by sight or feeling.

Today is the feast of St Albert the Great:  (1206 - 1280). Dominican priest, Bishop, first class scientist, Doctor of the Church and teacher of St Thomas Aquinas.  God made Bishop St Albert great by his joining of human wisdom to divine faith.

St Albert the Great pray for us.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A word about Thanksgiving.

“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” (Luke 17: 13).

The story of the Cleansing of the 10 Lepers is rich in lessons of God's great mercy and our response and gratitude for mercy.

“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?" 
(Luke 17: 17).

The other nine did not come back to give thanks.  Why? They had more pressing agenda. When they were done with them, they would come back and give thanks to the Master.  But Jesus did not stay to wait for them to return at their convenience and render thanks.  To the one who came back, Jesus says to him:
“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”  (Luke 17:  19).

And so is fulfilled this word of God:  "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."  (Matthew 13: 12).

Let us turn to the 9 cleansed and ungrateful lepers for a moment. Why did they miss out on the more enduring and lasting effects of the healing of Jesus? Consider the clue from the first Reading from Titus:  "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another." (Titus 3: 3).

The Scripture says that you and I are exactly like the 9 cleansed and ungrateful lepers.  Count your blessings and make a list of them.  Count your thanksgiving and make a list of them. Which list is longer?

Now decide to mend your ways and resolve:
"In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 
(1 Thessalonians 5: 18)

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Monday, November 12, 2018

There is no chaos in our destiny.

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart’s requests."  (Psalm 37: 4).

Why do I love the above Scripture so much?  The promise fulfills my deepest desires.  I know and believe today that God knows exactly what I need and when I need it. In the past I wasn't so sure of this. I know too that God Never Fails!

A few months ago, I recorded the landmarks in my life starting from the age of 3 upto today and made a Timeline spanning several decades.  I was astonished.  I see today a remarkable order in what I had seen as chaos all over the place.  Are you familiar with the Chaos Theory?  In brief, there is No Chaos in our destiny. Everything is Providence!  I did not notice this Providence working in my life but it was there in every moment and every step I took.
Paul put it this way in the first Reading from Titus:  "For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age."  (Titus 2: 11 - 12).  And John the Divine says:  "Whenever our conscience condemns us, we will be reassured that God is greater than our conscience and knows everything." (1 John 1: 20). 

So brothers and sisters,
"Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security." 
(Psalm 37: 3).

Today is the feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, Apostle of poor immigrants. She will be shocked at the hostility to immigrants by children of poor immigrants.  St Frances Xavier Cabrini pray for us.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Lord increase our faith.

“Increase our faith.” (Luke 17: 5).

The Apostles pleaded with Jesus. Watching Jesus teach, pray and perform miracles, they were able to isolate the key difference between them and the Master:  FAITH!  That is the missing ingredient.

What is faith?  The Letter to the Hebrews defines faith as:  "Confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11: 1).

A common man's definition might go like this:  Faith is absolute confidence in the promises of God in the Divine Scriptures.  The one who shows such confidence knows that God Never Fails!

The type of faith that the Apostles saw in Jesus in His public ministry is exactly the same type of faith that distinguished the heavy weights in Israel's history.
"This is what the ancients were commended for."  (Hebrews 11: 2).  Then follows a long list of Who is Who in the history of Israel concluding with... "These were all commended for their faith."  (Hebrews 11: 39).

The Apostles understood clearly that without this magic ingredient of Faith added to their character, they would end up as mediocres or as nothing.

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” 
(Luke 17:  6).

Why is faith crucial for living the Christian life?

"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."  (1 John 5: 4).

Do you know that we are in the state of constant spiritual warfare?  Every one of us?  Most of the trials you face are instances of this struggle.
"These  trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."  (1 Peter 1: 7).

Therefore, stand firm and fight valiantly in order to win. Do not be scared to death when you encounter obstacles, disappointments, delays, sicknesses, pennilessness, etc.
"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." 
(James 1: 2 - 3).

Genuine faith must be tested by trials. So was the faith of Abraham and Mary and the faith of the great ones of Israel.  Why do you think that your faith should be different?

Jesus said to one of the Saints:
"I promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place on me."  This encourages me a lot and I respond: "Lord Jesus I trust in You. Increase my trust!"
When you surrender yourself,
"As your days, so shall your strength be."  (Deuteronomy 33: 25).

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Who are the Anawim ?

[Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums."  (Mark 12: 41)

"A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents."  (Mark 12: 43).

The Scripture of this Sunday,(1 Kings, Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel) focuses on the Anawim.   Who are the Anawim?  These are “the poor who depend on the Lord for deliverance.”  For survival! The Responsorial Psalm spells out who belong to this class:

"The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts....The LORD gives sight to the blind.  The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; The LORD loves the just.  The LORD protects strangers. " (Psalm 146: 7, 8 - 9 ).

"Elijah said to the widow of Zarephath , “Do not be afraid."  A familiar phrase of Jesus. God would provide fully for her and her son until the end of the drought.
"For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth." (1 Kings 17: 14).

What are we to make of today's message of the Holy Spirit on the Anawim?  A number of lessons come to mind:

#1. Do not forget the Anawim. They are special to Me.
#2.  I am a God who keeps faith forever.
#3.  Nobody can out do Me in generosity.
#4.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 3).
#5.  I am the Good Shepherd of all Mankind. It is not from chance your comfort springs. It is from My gracious ordaining.

Brothers and sisters, make a place for the Anawim in your heart and it shall be well with you.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

If you know these truths about money, you will be blessed.

"No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”  (Luke 16:  13).

I need to hear the deep truths of the first Reading and the Gospel of today on money on my knees every day.  May God give us spiritual understanding and faith in these great teachings.  Help us to stand firm in these truths O Lord so that we may
know the protection of lasting peace.

Are you worried about money? Most of us are.  For many, money means security.  A word of wisdom says that "Man's security is Satan's opportunity."
Your extremity about money, not anxiety may often be God's opportunity to penetrate your mind and heart with healing truths on God's plan for your provision.

Whatever your life situation brothers and sisters, "Keep your lives free from love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never leave you, I will never abandon you'" (Hebrews 13:5).

For years, I have made the Scripture below my shortcut to the good life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

"Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides."  (Matthew 6: 33).

The appropriation of the divine promise in Matthew 6: 33 depends on obedience to the command in Matthew 6: 34.

"Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6: 34).

God can never supply you the bread you will eat on November 10, 2020 today because you ask and are very anxious about it.

Even the great Teacher and Apostle Paul had to learn a few lessons on God's radical faithfulness in providing our needs:
"I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances.  I know also how to live with abundance."
(Philippians 4: 12).

In a few words, that is the lesson of Times and Seasons in God's order and governance of the world.
"In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need."   (Philippians 4: 12).

When you have learned the lesson well, you can dance for joy and exclaim:
"I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."  (Philippians 4:   13).

Today is the Feast of a giant amongst priests:  St Leo the Great - Pope, Church Father and Doctor of the Church.
St Leo pray for us.

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

You are God’s Building.

"I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared like a bride adorned for her husband."  (Cf Revelation 21: 2).

The Church celebrates today the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Cathedral of Popes.  The beautiful readings in the Liturgy teaches us of the nature and destiny of the Church.  God chose to foreshadow for us
the heavenly Jerusalem
through the sign of His Church on earth and He calls His Church the Bride.  We the Bride are living and chosen stones from which God prepares an eternal dwelling for Himself.

Brothers and sisters, "You are God’s building." (1 Corinthians 3: 9).  And God is the wise Master Builder.  We are also the Temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
(1 Corinthians 3: 16).

Therefore beloved 1 Pt 2: 5
"Be built up like living stones,
into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood."  (1 Peter 2: 5).

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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

There is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."  (Luke 15: 7).

The Pharisees and the scribes were jealous because tax collectors and sinners were soaking up every word of the teaching of Jesus.  Their complaint was the occasion for the parable of the the Lost Sheep.  The politician understands that one vote counts.  Jesus is teaching the same lesson to His disciples.  One lost sinner is precious in the eyes of God.

There are so many lost sheep everywhere today. How do we help them to come home?  Consider the 7  Spiritual Works of Mercy:

1.Instruct the ignorant.
2.Counsel the doubtful.
3.Admonish sinners.
4.Bear wrongs patiently.
5.Forgive offences willingly.
6.Comfort the afflicted.
7.Pray for the living and the dead.

Ignorance is probably the key reason for people's alienation from God.  The truths below attest to this:

#1. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  (St Jerome).
#2.  "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." (CCC 2087).
#3.  Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God."  (Matthew 22: 29).
#4. "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief."  (1 Timothy 1: 13).
#5. "Ignorance nourishes vices and is the mother of all errors"
(St Isidore of Seville).
#6. "Brothers and sisters, I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;  darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart." (Ephesians 4: 17 - 18).

The New Evangelization is an ambitious program for lay people to evangelize, catechize and sacramentalize the lost sheep.   The first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy is a good place to start:
1.Instruct the ignorant.
2.Counsel the doubtful.
3.Admonish sinners.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."  (Luke 15: 7).

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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The truth shall make you free and wise.

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."  (Luke 14: 27).

One thing is absolutely certain in the economy of salvation: Cross, Cross Cross!  Once you understand this truth, you can now enjoy the Journey of Faith.

Your cross might be health or tough love with regard to family or people you call friends. Are you called to renounce all your possessions?  Or to take a vow of celibacy or to the single life or infertility in conjugal union? Whatever is your sweet yoke, the word of God is most comforting in these verses:
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work."
(Philippians 2: 12 - 13).

After you are blessed with the understanding and acceptance of the truth, the Divine Scriptures encourage you every day to:
"Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!"  (Psalm 27: 14).

If you have absolute confidence in the promises of Jesus, those who are waiting for you to fail will never say:
"This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish."  (Luke 14:  30).

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Monday, November 05, 2018

They sold their inheritance for a bowl of soup.

 "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame." (Luke 14: 21).

Jesus was a guest at a dinner when He told the parable of guests invited to a sumptuous dinner by a man. That man is Jesus. That dinner is the Wedding of the Lamb.  Those invited were His friends, the baptized and supposedly redeemed.  Listen to their excuses for turning down the invitation:

"I have purchased a field and must go to examine it.... And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them... ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come."  (Luke 14: 18 - 20).

Tell me if you are this King, what would you do?  Unfortunately, this parable plays out Sunday after Sunday across the world where the Prince of Peace summons His friends to the Eucharistic Feast and the invited guests turn down the invitation.

The judgment on the foolish guests is understandably severe.  Like Esau, they sold their inheritance for a bowl of soup. (Cf Genesis 25: 29 - 34).
"For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner."  (Luke 14: 24).

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Sunday, November 04, 2018

Weep my beloved Church!

"Complete my joy brothers and sisters by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing."  (Philippians 2: 2).

Church unity had been a big heartache for Peter and Paul and for all the successors of the  Fisherman throughout the centuries.  In 1054, there appeared a major crack in the unity of the Church between the Western and the Eastern Church.

Today's first Reading addresses the principal causes of Church disunity:
"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,  each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others."  (Philippians 2: 3 - 4).

The Lord Jesus left us in the Eucharist, Sacrament and Symbol of unity.
In the middle of the 16th century, the Church was splintered into Protestant and Catholic entities.  The Catholic Church representing the ancient Church and the Protestant branch further splintering to today's estimated 60,000 units.

The whole of the New Testament is full of shrill call for unity and warnings and anathemas against agents of disunity.  Paul warned the Roman Christians to put their house in order  "so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  (Romans 15: 6).

"All the believers were one in heart and mind."  (Acts 4: 32).
This is the will of God for the Church.

The night before He died, Jesus prayed passionately to His Father:
"That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."  (John 17: 21).

Brothers and sisters, pray for Church unity every day.

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Saturday, November 03, 2018

Fear the Lord your God.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 
(Mark 12: 30 - 31).

Why not? Should it be very hard to love Abba Father above everything?   Treating our neighbor exactly the way you want to be treated does not appear an impossible feat.

Below is God's standard in loving us:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self - seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always  trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
God wants us to apply this standard to our neighbor.

When we obey God and make Him the top priority in our universe, we enjoy a full and rich life.
"Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“Fear the LORD, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life."  (Deuteronomy 6: 2).

Our response should be:
"I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer."  (Psalm 18: 2 - 3).

Do not be readers but doer of the word.
"Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him and we will come to him." 
(John 14: 23).

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Friday, November 02, 2018

Do not invite yourself to the place of honor.

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14: 11).

Christ our Teacher gives us a poignant lesson on humility.  One of our great theologians writes that humility is the queen of virtues.  St Augustine writes that you can get into heaven without perfect chastity but you cannot enter heaven without humility.

Jesus teaches us a very practical lesson on humility.  The type a dad will give his son or a mother her daughter to spare them embarrassment.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor."  (Luke 14: 8).  That may belong to someone else.

Everyone struggles with some type of pride.  My best lesson on humility is from the autobiography of St Ignatius Loyola which the saint dictated to his secretary, Father Gonzalez.  Father Gonzalez who said he struggled with pride asked St Ignatius how to overcome it. "Pray about it sincerely to the Lord."  St Ignatius reminded Father Gonzalez of Jesus' promise of "Ask, Seek and Knock and Receive."  I know I have tried many things until I read this. I pray for humility every morning and that's it.

Through St Ignatius, Jesus teaches me to trust Him to deal with my pride in His own way and in His time.
"Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  (Matthew 11: 29).

Our Saint for today is a model of humility.  The unassuming St Martin de Porres worked so many miracles during his life and continues to work many today.  Below is the prayer celebrating his life:

"O God, who led Saint Martin de Porres by the path of humility to heavenly glory,
grant that we may so follow his radiant example in this life
as to merit to be exalted with him in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

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Thursday, November 01, 2018

All Souls' Day - November 2.

"The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace."  (Wisdom 3: 1 - 3).

The Church celebrates today All Souls' Day.   We remember all Christians who had died. "They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction."
No surprise because: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."  But The fools are corrupt and speak out of their corruption.   (Cf Psalm 14: 1).

The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ guarantees the Resurrection of the just.
"Just as Jesus died and has risen again, so through Jesus God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep; and as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be brought to life." 
(Cf. 1 Thessalonians 4: 14; 1 Corinthians 15: 22).

The deep truth of faith is revealed only to the childlike.
"Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect." 
(Wisdom 3:  9).

It is simply not possible for our hope of Resurrection to disappoint. Why?
"Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us."  (Romans 5: 5).

So my brothers and sisters, be steadfast in your hope and stand your ground.
"Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil, for the Lord is with you; His rod and His staff will comfort you."  (Cf Psalm 23: 4).

Here is a promise you can trust and share:
"I am the Resurrection and the Life, says the Lord.
Whoever believes in me, even though he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will not die for ever."  (Cf. John 11: 25-26).

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of November.

November 1st, 2018 - First Friday in November.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 11th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #11.

#11.  "Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced."

Friday, November 2, 2018 is also ALL SOULS DAY. The Church today "prays for all who, in the purifying suffering of purgatory await the day when they will join in" the company of the Saints. Jesus, who is true and faithful Witness promises us that "Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced."

Friends, this is really a question of whether you trust the promises Jesus or not.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Solemnity of All Saints.

"I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue."  (Revelation 7: 9).

We celebrate today, November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints. We honor the countless number of the Redeemed who are not mentioned in the Liturgical Calendar.  All the Saints whether canonized or not are already assured of immortality.

“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” (Revelation 7: 13).

The Saints are those who believed in Jesus, trusted His promises and "have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  (Revelation 7: 14).

Don’t you often wonder about life after death, life in Heaven?
The testimony of the Divine Scriptures is all we have:  "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" -- the things God has prepared for those who love him."  (1 Corinthians 2: 9).

The Church adds a commentary:
"This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness."  (CCC 1024).

All Saints Day is a day of great rejoicing in the ancient Church and is both a Solemnity and a holy Day of Obligation.
Happy Feast Day!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Say No to Compromise!

“Strive to enter through the narrow door."  (Luke 13: 24).

In following Jesus, the choice is clear but challenging for most of us. The narrow door is the Beatitudes, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. This is how Jesus lived and the example "The Way, the Truth and Life" set for us.

For Christians, there is no alternative.  "For many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."  (Luke 13: 24).
Many will be tempted to compromise but will fall short.

What does it profit a man to get everything he wants in life but to be confronted with this scenario:
"Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from." (Luke 13: 25).

The regret will be unspeakable.
"And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out."  (Luke 13:  28).

I will rather be last now and enter the kingdom than be first and lost.
"For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”. (Luke 13: 30).

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Monday, October 29, 2018

The mystery of the growth of the Kingdom.

"Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush."
(Luke 13: 18 -  19).

The Parable of the Mustard Seed evokes the truth of the life cycle concept:  small beginnings, steady, mysterious growth and development.  Our faith comes to us as a tiny mustard seed.

God reveals to simple souls the mysteries of the Kingdom.  (Cf Matthew 11: 25).  As the sunflower seeks the sun, they seek the face of God daily in prayer and faithfulness to His will. And they grow steadily in faith, hope and love.  They love the word of God.  And God who delights in the little ones ravishes them with His promises:

"Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored."  (Psalm 128: 1 - 2).

This promise is for all of us.

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Woman, you are set free.

"Behave like God as his very dear children."  (Cf Ephesians 5: 1).

Wow! We know that by Baptism, God has adopted us as His children.  But is it part of the Covenant to agree to behave like Him? Apparently so.  Today's Scripture on Monday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time shows us how to behave like God and how to behave like the natural man born of flesh.  Read with me:

“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God." (Luke 13: 12 - 13).
Jesus healed a woman crippled for 18 years on the Sabbath in full view of Law Enforcement.
Compassion and courage is behaving like God.

"But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” (Luke 13: 14).
Heartless legalism is behaving like man.   A proverb says:  "The onlookers think that a man carrying a coffin is carrying wood."  Are you such an onlooker?

“Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?" (Luke 13: 15).
Making your interests paramount in every situation is thinking like man. Selfish.  A fake politician thinks and acts, "I think of whatever concerns me as top priority."

But for Jesus, the woman is: "This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”(Luke 13: 16).
This is Why the Savior and Redeemer came.

Is it possible to behave like children of God?

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3: 13).

Prayer is the key and efficient cause of blessings.
"Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect: Monday 30th Week in Ordinary Time).

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

How to behave like children of God.

"Behave like God as his very dear children."  (Cf Ephesians 5: 1).

Wow! We know that by Baptism, God has adopted us as His children.  But is it part of the Covenant to agree to behave like Him? Apparently so.  Today's Scripture on Monday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time shows us how to behave like God and how to behave like the natural man born of flesh.  Read with me:

“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God." (Luke 13: 12 - 13).
Jesus healed a woman crippled for 18 years on the Sabbath in full view of Law Enforcement.
Compassion and courage is behaving like God.

"But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” (Luke 13: 14).
Heartless legalism is behaving like man.   A proverb says:  "The onlookers think that a man carrying a coffin is carrying wood."  Are you such an onlooker?

“Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?" (Luke 13: 15).
Making your interests paramount in every situation is thinking like man. Selfish.  A fake politician thinks and acts, "I think of whatever concerns me as top priority."

But for Jesus, the woman is: "This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”(Luke 13: 16).
This is Why the Savior and Redeemer came.

Is it possible to behave like children of God?

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3: 13).

Prayer is the key and efficient cause of blessings.
"Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect: Monday 30th Week in Ordinary Time).

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Man's extremity is God's opportunity.

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” (Mark 10: 47).

This is the desperate cry of a blind man called Bartimaeus.  First lesson in today's Gospel:
#1.  "Man's extremity is God's opportunity.  Man's security is Satan's opportunity."

Jesus who encourages Bartimaeus to step forward to his presence asks him:
“What do you want me to do for you?”  (Mark 10: 51).

#2.  When you are in a court filled with a crowd of hostile jury, realize that your only hope is the mercy of God.  Don't beat about the bush.  You have a few seconds, allowed a few words to state your case.
"Jesus is calling you." (Mark 10: 49).  So far, so good for Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus who had waited for this opportunity since the day he heard the story of Jesus and His miracles from his family had rehearsed what to do when the opportunity presents itself:
“Master, I want to see.”  (Mark 10: 51).

The ever merciful Jesus never redeems in halves. With Him is always full redemption:
“Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."  (Mark 10: 52).

It is possible that the fortunate Bartimaeus ended up being a Bishop in the early Church.

Hand over your extremities to Jesus and see what happens.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

We are builders and living stones of God's House.

"Brothers and sisters: Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift."  (Ephesians 4: 7).

Christ gives us grace to build up the Church, His Body.
"Some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers."   And also the numerous ministries that serve the People of God.
(Ephesians 4: 11).

Just as  building a family home or a Cathedral needs the skills of carpenters, roofers, electricians, plumbers, architects, construction managers, etc so does the building the Church, the House of the Living God.  The Church is a spiritual House where each of us is both builder and living stone.

We are building a strong fortress to combat the evils of this age principally fake news.  But also "every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming." 
(Ephesians 4: 14).

Therefore "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."  (Ephesians 6: 10 - 11).

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

What can God do about the present state of the world?

"Jesus also said to the crowds, “When you see cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does;  and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is."  (Luke 12: 54 - 56).

Jesus calls us hypocrites in today's Gospel for pretending that we do not notice that the world is changing rapidly and radically around us. St Augustine in his epochal prodigious work, THE CITY OF GOD expounds a Theology of History.   In summary:  Once upon a time, Rome was master of the world.  After over 500 years of continuous power, the warning signs of decay was everywhere. People decided to ignore it.  One day, the empire collapsed and tumbled down. For the next 100 years or so, the grief stricken Romans blamed Christianity for the tragedy. Since Rome fell in 407 AD, no world event similar to it has occurred.

Now we are at an inflexion point in history.  We do not have any empires today.  Are we going to witness the collapse of Christianity during our lifetime?  Pray to be open to see the Signs of the Times.  God entered a Covenant with the Israelites and they were unfaithful. Prophets after prophets warned them to come back to God.  They refused.   Their response to the prophets:  "Your message is extreme. God could never possibly do what you are saying."  One day, the northern kingdom was sent into exile and never heard of again.  In 70 AD, Rome destroyed the southern kingdom and scattered the remaining population all over the world.  In 1948, the state of Israel was formed. Today, the population of Israel is less than 3 million, a shadow of its former self.  Nothing is impossible for God.

"You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"  (Luke 12: 56).

Times and Seasons are God’s Appointment.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I pleaded and the Spirit of Wisdom was given to me.

Paul prays that God "may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self."  (Ephesians 3: 16).

What do you know about the Holy and Awesome Spirit?  At  the lowest point in my life, a true, reliable and credible person told me that all that I "needed is the Holy Spirit."  Although I did not see how a holy spirit could resolve all the urgent and real world issues that I faced at the time, I listened because of the authenticity of the witness.  At a book fair a couple of months earlier, I purchased a hefty book with the unglamorous title "HOLY SPIRIT" and left it in my book case to gather dust.  Call it coincidence or Providence.

After the encounter with destiny that I label today:  "All you need is the Holy Spirit", I devoured the Holy Spirit book. About ten years prior to this event, I invested heavily in self development literature of the kind of: THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON, HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, THINK AND GROW RICH, etc.
I discovered that the HOLY SPIRIT book promises everything the popular psychology literature is selling.  The self development literature genre is still very popular today and sells $ billions every year.  People are searching for meaning, peace and happiness but are looking in the wrong places.

After reading the HOLY SPIRIT, I made a 9-day Novena.  On the 9th and final day, I followed to the letter the instructions of the slim booklet I bought for the Novena.  VoilĂ !  That was how the Holy Spirit which I received in Confirmation as a careless teenager was activated in me.

Paul continued to pray for the Ephesians "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3: 17).  This reminded me of what happened to me after the Holy Spirit Novena. I declared by faith that I had received the Holy Spirit.  It was confirmed minutes later from a text from the Book of Wisdom:
"I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me."  (Wisdom 7: 7).

I have never doubted this experience.  After the encounter with the Holy Spirit, I was filled with incredible joy and peace that lasted for months. I thought it would last forever.  Peter asked Jesus to allow them stay on the Mount of Transfiguration forever. It never happened.  There is work to be done.  (Matthew 17: 4).

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Has the Lord entrusted you with much?

"When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."  (Luke 12: 48).

Has the Lord entrusted you with any ministry?  St Paul was very proud to say:
"You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit." (Ephesians 3: 2).
Who would blame Paul for crowing about his promotion.  He is promoted to serve the King of the Universe in a high position.

No matter what your ministry is, you also have been called to serve Jesus in His Church using the gifts He has given you. Like St Paul you will depend entirely on Jesus for the high fidelity expected of the mission.

"God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation." 
(Isaiah 12: 2 - 3).

To succeed, you must be vigilant and pray constantly. Also:
"Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come."  (Matthew 24: 42, 44).

But should you fail, God forbid,  your delinquency will provoke the humiliation of seeing the Redeemer relieving you of your duties and completing the task Himself.

"I will pasture My sheep; I Myself will give them rest, says the Lord." (Ezekiel 34: 15).

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Come Lord Jesus

 “Gird your loins and light your lamps  and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks."  (Luke 12: 35 - 36).

It is easy to see that the master here is Jesus Christ and the master's return from the wedding the Second Coming of Jesus or the end of your life which may occur suddenly without warning.

If you are ready when He knocks on your door, He will be very pleased and serve you.  Should He delay His coming which is probable in most cases, He expects you to open the door at the first knock.  Are you ready? How do you wait for Jesus?

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21: 36).

A Christian who does not give time to prayer as a minimum is not ready to meet Jesus.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Cf Psalm 95: 8).

Come Lord Jesus!

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Make much money and retire in luxury.

"Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”  (Luke 12: 19).

These are the words of the foolish rich man whose land produced abundant harvest.  He did not know the source of his blessings.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1: 17).  No wonder thanksgiving was far from his mind. We live at a time when many people pursue recklessly the mammon of this world through relentless and punishing overwork, lottery and gambling.  What is the end game? To make much money rapidly and then retire in a fairytale island and live like King Louis XIV forever.

O foolish man, who believes he can outsmart the strict unbending law of Divine Providence, listen to the word of God:
"You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?"
(Luke 12: 20).

What do you make of these divine injunctions?
#1. Gather the manna you need for one day.  The next day, I the Lord Your God will supply fresh manna for the new day. (Cf Exodus 16: 21 - 35).

#2. "Give us today the food we need."  (Matthew 6: 11).

#3.  "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."  (Matthew 6 : 34).

Do not allow wealth to be a snare for you.  Rather put your wealth in trusting God's promises. Not even a single one of them has failed.

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

By His wounds, many shall be healed.

"Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear." 
(Isaiah 53: 11).

When you hear "Christ the Redeemer", what comes to your mind?  The type and shadow of our Redemption was shown in various places in the Old Testament.  Example: Exodus and here in the Book of Numbers:
"The Lord said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover."  (Numbers 21: 8 - 9).

Our sins would cause severe suffering to the Suffering Servant of God.  Our sins will also cause us to be severely bitten by the punishing serpents.  But God will not abandon us.  When we cry out to God, He will come to our aid.

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”  (John 12: 32).

God sent His Son born of woman to redeem us from sin and the effects of sin.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin."  (Hebrews 4: 15).

Our redemption and salvation is great gift of mercy from God.  What is your response?
Look at the image of Christ on the Cross and:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Thank You Jesus.  By Your stripes I am healed. (Isaiah 53: 5).

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Friday, October 19, 2018

The Holy Spirit is the Voice that speaks in court.

"The holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”  (Luke 12: 12).

If I have not personally experienced this promise several times in my life, I may hesitate in believing it.  In truth, I started experiencing the guidance of the Holy Spirit long before I considered myself a committed Christian.

Here is one example.
#1.  On a Saturday night in college, I was attacked by a mob of a fraternity cult.  They threw a broken bottle on me which cut my tendon.  Charges were filed and the cult was put on trial by the university court.  It appeared that all the members of the court from the Law faculty were ex members of one fraternity or the other.  Very soon, I was treated as the culprit instead of the plaintiff.  At one point, very angry, I turned and faced the lawyers and said:  "There is no basis in law for what you have said."  That was all that I said. You could have heard a pin drop in the room.  To make a long story short, the cult was proscribed and I was paid damages.  Where did my words come from?  I know today.  From the Holy Spirit, the Voice that speaks in court. 

There is no space here for more examples but I have enjoyed regularly this sweet interventions of the Awesome Spirit.  Later when I got to know the Holy Spirit, I try to invoke His help in everything I do. My favorite prayer to the Holy Spirit is the Veni Sancte Spiritu (Come Holy Spirit...).

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be recreated
--And You will renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray:
O God, Who did instruct the hearts of Your faithful people by the Light of Your Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Forget your foolish fears.

"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows."  (Luke 12: 6 - 7).

How many times do we find the injunction:  "Do not be afraid" in the Bible? A cursory search gives 350 times. While this may not be exact, it is enough to demonstrate that we are too fearful and that God is deeply concerned about our foolish fears.  On one occasion, the People of God were so fearful about their future and accused God of having forsaken them. God's defense is one of the most tender words you can read anywhere:

"But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you."  (Isaiah 49: 14 - 15).

Even if it were possible for a rogue mother to cast away her child, it is impossible for God to do that.  In today's Scripture, Jesus says that God is concerned about one sparrow which costs less than one penny.  His providential care for us notices every hair on our head. 

Yet in spite of such assurances, our life is full of worry.  Worry about health, family, job, possessions, etc.  In the Scripture from Hebrews, God gives us the killer word on worry about money:
"Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”  Thus we may say with confidence:
“The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 5 - 6).

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  (Cf Psalm 95: 8)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

St Luke is the beautiful feet on the road bringing the Good News.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
who brings glad tidings of peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation!"
(Isaiah 52: 7).

Those beautiful feet upon the mountains are the feet of St Luke the Evangelist whose feast we celebrate today. St Luke abandoned his profession as a medical doctor to become an Evangelist of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He wrote two books in the New Testament, the Gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles, an inspired and reliable history of the early Church.

St Luke besides being a faithful and true chronicler of the events in his books has a character that appeals to me very much.  He is reliable!
"Luke is the only one with me," says Paul after listing the people who abandoned him. (2 Timothy 4: 11).
This may be why God  chose Luke "to reveal by his preaching and writings
the mystery of your love for the poor."

The core of the message of St Luke is that magnificent obsession of Jesus the Christ:
"The Lord sent out disciples to proclaim throughout the towns: The kingdom of God is at hand for you."  (Cf Luke 10: 1, 9).  Through our words and works we can propagate the glorious splendor of God's Kingdom. Making known to men God's love, justice and might.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

St Ignatius of Antioch was filled with the Holy Spirit.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."   (Galatians 5: 22 - 23).

The above Scripture paints the image of Jesus Christ who is filled with the Holy Spirit. It portrays also St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr and Father of the Church.  (35 - 108 AD).
St Ignatius of Antioch was the first to use the word "Catholic" to describe the universal Church.  In letters he wrote on his way to Rome for his martyrdom under Emperor Trajan, Ignatius affirmed unequivocally the hierarchical nature of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Below is one of his famous quotes:

"I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire."  (St Ignatius of Antioch).

In the Liturgy celebrating his life today, the Church uses one of his famous quotes:
"I am the wheat of Christ to be ground by the teeth of beasts,
that I may be found to be pure bread."  (Communion Antiphon).

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit."
(Galatians 5: 25).

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Where is the victorious living?

"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law."  (Galatians 5: 1).

Free from fears, worries and doubts.

I believe the Scriptures that Christ has set us free through His redemptive death. Why don't I feel this freedom and victory always in my life?  The Letter to the Galatians teaches that we appropriate this freedom by faith. When I am attacked by fear, worry or doubt, I declare by faith that Christ has set me free.  I walk by faith and not by sight or feeling.

What is the pathway to this freedom? Through the Spirit, we pray to receive the mercy and grace that we need.  Therefore the pathway to victory and freedom is prayer, grace and mercy.

"For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness."  (Galatians 5:5).

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Sign of Jonah.

"Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation."  (Luke 11: 30).

Jesus is a Sign to our generation.  Today is the Memorial of St Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.  She was a bright sign to her generation. Of her the Church prays  "that we may always be nourished by the food of her heavenly teaching and fired with longing for true holiness."

What does it mean that Jonah is a sign to the Ninevites?  A sign points to a significant post or event in the horizon. Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale. It points to the 3 days Jesus was to stay in the grave.

Other important signs in the Scriptures are:
#1. Sabbath / Sunday (Ezekiel 20: 12, 20: 20).  It points to the Resurrection of Jesus and the permanent Day of Rest which is a rehearsal for Eternal life.
#2 "Between me and the Israelites it is to be an everlasting sign; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested at his ease."  (Exodus 31: 17).

Scripture urges us not to forget "our ancient landmarks."
(Proverbs 22: 28). These are wonderful Signs that God scatters along our Journey of Faith.  These landmarks in our Timeline give us great confidence and consolation in a period of desolation and depression. 

St Teresa of Avila left us one such precious gem from her life.

"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila).

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

The word of God is the wisdom of God.

"The word of God is living and effective."  (Hebrews 4: 12).

Four of the 7 characteristics of living things learned early in grade school are: respiration, growth, reproduction and nutrition.  The word of God is all these plus:  It is mighty effective.  The word of God has sustained Christianity for over 2000 years.  The first book of the New Testament was not written till perhaps 40 years after the Ascension of Christ. It was the living spoken word that sustained the Christians for about a generation.  Origen, an early Church Father of the 3rd century, writes that the Church would have survived till the Second Coming of Jesus without a written New Testament.

The word of God is the Wisdom of God.
"I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me."  (Wisdom 7: 7).

The word of God is tested by fire and is more precious than silver and gold.
"I preferred her to scepter and throne, And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a bit of sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire."  (Wisdom 7: 8 - 9).

When Jeremiah and the prophets found the word of God, they ate it up.
"Yet all good things together came to me with her, and countless riches at her hands; I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is their mother." 
(Wisdom 7: 11 - 12).

In today's Gospel, Jesus said to the Rich Young man:
“You are lacking in one thing."  (Mark 10: 21).
He lacks the word of God, the wisdom of God.
Is it possible to be attached to money and be saved? Jesus answers:
"All things are possible for God.”  (Mark 10: 27).

The word of God proclaims that:
"The rich suffer want and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." 
(Psalm 34: 11).  Amen!

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Before Faith came, there was...

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it."  (Luke 11: 28).

The word of God, the Promise of God is the source of every blessing. And Faith is confidence in the Promise of Jesus.

Nobody understands the promises of God as much as Mary, the Mother of God.  At the event that launched the salvation history and the New Genealogy,  "Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1: 38).

Do you know that Faith is one of the key revelations in Sacred Scripture? Listen to Paul explain:
"Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed."  (Galatians 3: 23).

There was a time when what we call Faith was unimaginable.   People thought that to be OK with God, you need to do certain things.  Then Abraham appeared.  God said to Abraham: Leave your country. Migrate to a new country. I will provide for you and protect you and your family. Abraham had confidence in the Promise of God and God was pleased.  Abraham's confidence and the pleasure of God constitutes the revelation and revolution of Faith as prime mover in salvation history.

"For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus."  (Galatians 3: 26).
Do you believe that this is true?
And this:
"Through faith in Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe."  (Galatians 3: 22).

The old genealogy technically stops here:
"Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,  Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Matthew 1: 15 - 16).
Jesus Christ heads the new genealogy of which your name is inscribed.

"And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise."   (Galatians 3: 29).

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

I will return to the house I left.

 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left."

When it returns, behold the house clean and empty.  Amazed, the evil spirit invites seven of his friends.

"And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”  (Cf Luke 11: 24 - 26).

What is your attitude towards evil spirits, demonic possessions, addictions? Skepticism, fairy tales or half doubt, half belief? If your attitude is any of this, then it is far from that of the Bible, the official Magisterium and the tradition of the Church.

Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem mankind. What is Redemption?
"The restoration of man from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the children of God through the satisfactions and merits of Christ." (Catholic Encylopedia).

There is a connection between Sin > > Suffering >>Salvation.

When someone is saved, and does not fill the vacuum with good works and disciplined living, relapse is inevitable. This time around, the condition may be worse.

When the evil spirit arrives the second time and finds the house swept clean and put in order.  It departs and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself.  And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.  (Cf Luke 11: 24 - 26).

The Alcoholic Anonymous has great understanding of this dynamics through decades of working with alcoholics.

Let us never underestimate the power of faith and prayer in dealing with all types of demonic infiltrations and substance abuse and addictions.

"O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption, look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters, that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
(Collect, Monday 23rd Week in Ordinary Time).

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ask, Seek, Knock and Receive. The Church trusts the Promise of Jesus.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  (Luke 11: 9).

The Gospel this Thursday, October 11 contains the most important and beautiful promise of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Church believes absolutely in the Promise of Ask, Seek, Knock and Receive. How do I know?  Because in the prayers of the Church in Sacred Liturgy, you see the Church constantly reminding Jesus of this promise.  Do not hesitate in imitating the Church in your own prayers.

"For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?" (Luke 11: 10-12).

Abba Father is a most loving Father.  How can He give us something that will hurt us when He invites us to pray with expectant faith?

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  "Luke 11: 13).

We are distracted by many things, our moods change quickly. Last but not the least, we are profoundly selfish.  But because God has planted into our being parental instinct, we know how to give good gifts to our children. 

Ask the Father of mercy and God of all consolation the best of all gifts: the Holy Spirit!  He will give you instantly. This is the experience in all Christian traditions.  Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals have all experienced the Holy Spirit and His love and power.  The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Your Kingdom come.

“When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
(Luke 11: 2 - 4).

Our Gospel today is the Lucan version of the Lord's Prayer.  Let us reflect on the petition:
"Your Kingdom come." (Luke 11: 2).

We noted that Jesus has a magnificent obsession for the Kingdom.  He used the term more than any other in the Gospel.  After the Resurrection, it appeared that He spoke of nothing else but the Kingdom.

"Until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1: 2 - 3).

What is the Kingdom?
The Kingdom is the reign of the King [God] in the hearts and minds of men and women in the world.  The seed of the Kingdom is the Church.

"Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven". For those who stay "outside", everything remains enigmatic," teaches the Church (CCC 546).

People who are searching for shortcut to the fulfilled life, the abundant life, Jesus gives this formula:
"Make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well."
(Matthew 6: 33 NTE).

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Monday, October 08, 2018

How did the Church become so distracted?

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” (Luke 10: 40).

Is Martha the symbol of a Church distracted by many things? The compromising Church? Too busy to sit still and listen?

"She [Martha] had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak."  (Luke 10: 39).

How did the Church today got to be burdened by many distractions?  The Church that works and not prays is a weak Church.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

I know a couple that spent countless hours running between food banks and homeless shelters but too busy to pray.  They were praised by the priest at a Sunday Mass for their exemplary conduct. A few months later, they were burned out and stopped coming to Church.  Prayer is a vital necessity.

Anxious and distracted Church reminds us of the Parable of the Sower:  "The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit."  (Matthew 13: 22).

Mary has intuited the Sacrament of the Present Moment.  The Power of the Now!

The Church teaches:
"Prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God."  (CCC 2725).

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

Where is your steadfastness and loyalty?

"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel, not that there is another.  (Galatians 1: 6)

The reflections today is from the first Reading on Monday, 27th Week of Ordinary Time.  The Scripture is full of succulent meat.  If your ministry is in the field of evangelization/catechesis, you would certainly have experienced Paul's frustration in Galatians 1: 6.  You stamp your feet on the ground and ask:  Where has loyalty gone?

The answer is plain.  You work hard during the day and sow good seeds.  At midnight, the enemy sneaks in and sows weed.
"But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1: 7).

Salvation cost Jesus His life. Sometimes, you need to pull out the dagger for a hand to hand spiritual combat.  Paul never hesitates.  So does Peter, James and the other Apostles.
Perversion of the truth of Revelation is the worst possible crime.
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!"  (Galatians 1: 8 - 9).

Why do people compromise or soften the truth of the Gospel? To make quick and easy converts?  They never last. Don't curry favors.  If you are real, they will treat you like they treated Jesus.

"Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ."  (Galatians 1: 10).

If necessary, be prepared to give proof of your authenticity.
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.  For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."  (Galatians 1: 11- 12).

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Saturday, October 06, 2018

Can a man put asunder what God has joined together?

“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10: 2).

This is the big question in the Gospel of the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time.   Jesus responds:
"But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife],  and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh."  (Mark 10: 6 - 8).

And then Jesus adds:
"Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”  (Mark 10: 9).

Marriage and Holy Orders are two Sacraments of Service in the Church.
Through these Sacraments, married people, bishops, priests and deacons take a solemn vow to build up the Church.  Both institutions are in dire crisis today.  Listening to the loud accusations of some people about the clerical sex crisis, one could ask the question:  What is the state of marriage in our society today? Less than 40% of married couples who have been married for 35 years or more are still married to the same person.  This is no excuse for the clerical sex abuse (less than 2% of all priests are accused).  What is going on?

"The Lord God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him."  (Genesis 2: 18).

Lord grant us holy marriages and holy homes.

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Friday, October 05, 2018

Great reason for rejoicing.

"Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10: 20).

The 72 disciples of Jesus on their return from their missionary journey were full of joy because they cast out demons in the name of Jesus.  Jesus tells them that there is a greater joy waiting for them.  Their "names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10: 20).  Your name too is written in heaven and this is a matter for great joy.  The Christian has the Holy Spirit, who is the source of joy.  Jesus Himself rejoiced constantly in the Holy Spirit.
"At that very moment he [Jesus] rejoiced in the holy Spirit."  (Luke 10: 21).

At the time of Job [Book of Job], people rejoiced in their material possessions.
"Thus the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his earlier ones. For he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-assess. And he had seven sons and three daughters."  (Job 42: 12 - 13).

Revelation was progressive.  Jesus was not yet born to reveal the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Trinity and Heaven.
Now we know the source of true and everlasting peace and joy.

"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom."  (Cf Matthew 11: 25).

To get hold of this peace and joy, we need the awesome Holy Spirit:
"Teach me wisdom and knowledge, for in your commands I trust."   (Psalm 119: 66).

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."  (Matthew 7: 7 NLT).

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